Behold the Lamb of God
Having celebrated the Epiphany and the Baptism of Our Lord last week, we are now back in “Ordinary Time” where the liturgical colour is green. This takes us through to Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on 14th February.
In this Sunday’s Gospel (John 1:35-42), John the Baptist points out JESUS as the “Lamb of God.” The word for lamb used here in the original Greek, amnos, is a very special type of lamb which was used for sacrifice to atone for sin. As we know, JESUS is the true Lamb of God, because He is the One who was sacrificed for the sins of the world. The animal sacrifices offered by the Jews in the Old Testament were a mere foreshadowing of the sacrifice JESUS would make on the cross of Calvary, and because Jesus is God, His sacrifice was of an infinite value, and thereby He atoned for all the sins of the world, past, present and to come. The fruits of JESUS’ sacrifice on the cross are transmitted to us through the sacraments and especially through the SACRIFICE of the Mass. At every Mass when the priest pronounces the words of Consecration, the sacrifice and death of JESUS is made present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine, so we are literally present at Calvary. The outward appearances of bread and wine remain, but faith tells us this is the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of JESUS present in even the tiniest particle of the consecrated Host and in every drop of the consecrated wine. We call this the Real Presence. For this reason, before Holy Communion, the priest, in the words of St John the Baptist holds up the Sacred Host saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.”
The Real Presence means that JESUS is present in our tabernacles. He is there waiting for you. Visit Him often when you pass the church even if only for a few moments. It will bring you much spiritual profit. Every Saturday morning at 10am there is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with Confession available, concluding with Benediction at 11am.
Fr Paul Gillham IC